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“ elder and Henry earle of Surrey were the two chieft A1 Nes, “ who having travailed into Italie, and there tasted the sweete
“ newly crept out of the schooles of Dante, Ariosto, and Pe“ trarch, they greatly polished our rude and homely manner of “ vulgar poesie from that it had bene before, and for that cause “ may justly be sayd the first reformers of our English meeter “ and stile °.” And again, towards the close of the same chapter. “ Henry earle of Surrey, and fir Thomas Wyat, between “ whom I finde very little difference, I repute them (as before) “ for the two chief lanternes of light to all others that have “ fince employed their pennes upon English poefie: their con“ ceits were loftie, their stiles stately, their conveyance cleanly, “ their termes proper, their meetre sweete and well-propor“tioned, in all imitating very naturally and studiously their * maister Francis Petrarcha".” I forbear to recite the testimonies of Leland, Sydney, Tuberville, Churchyard, and Drayton. Nor have these pieces, although scarcely known at present, been without the panegyric of more recent times. Surrey is praised by Waller, and Fenton; and he seems to have been a favorite with Pope. Pope, in WINDsor-forest, having compared his patron lord Granville with Surrey, he was immediately reprinted, but without attracting many readers". It was vainly imagined, that all the world would eagerly wish to purchase the works of a neglected antient English poet, whom Pope had called the GRANvil LE of a former age. So rapid are the revolutions of our language, and such the uncertainty of literary fame, that Philips, Milton's nephew, who wrote about the year 1674, has remarked, that in his time Surrey's poetry was antiquated and totally forgotten ". Our authors SoN Ges AND SoNNETTEs, as they have been: stiled, were first colle&ted and printed at London by Tottell,
in 1557". As it happens in colle&tions of this kind, they are of various merit. Surrey is said, by the ingenious author of the Muses LIBRARY, to have been the first who broke through the fashion of stanzas, and wrote in the heroic couplet. But all Surrey's poems are in the alternate rhyme ; nor, had this been true, is the other position to be granted. Chaucer's Prologues and most of the Canterbury Tales are written in long verse: nor was the use of the couplet resumed, till late in the reign of Elisabeth. In the sonnets of Surrey, we are surprised to find nothing of that metaphysical cast which marks the Italian poets, his supposed masters, especially Petrarch. Surrey's sentinents are for the most part natural and unaffected; arising from his own feelings, and dićtated by the present circumstances. His poetry is alike unembarrassed by learned allusions, or elaborate conceits. If our author copies Petrarch, it is Petrarch's better manner: when he descends from his Platonic abstractions, his refinements of passion, his exaggerated compliments, and his play upon oppo
Petrarch would have been a better poet had he been a worse scholar. Our author's mind was not too much overlaid by learning. The following is the poem abovementioned, in which he laments his imprisonment in Windsor-castle. But it is rather an elegy than a sonnet, *
Where eche swete place returnes a taste full sower:
* In quarto. It is extraordinary, that * In unrestrained gaiety and pleasure. A. Wood should not have known this edi- " With the young duke of Richmond. tion. Another edition appeared in 1565. * To hover, to loiter in expectation.
Others, in 1574.—1585–1587.-Others So Chaucer, TR oil. CR ess. B. 5. ver. 33.
for become so miserable a prison.
But at the yate there she should outride
With 7 Swift's joke about the Maids of honour being lodged at Windsor in the round tower, in queen Anne's time, is too well
The stately seates, the ladies bright of hewe,
The palme-play", where, dispoyled for the game",
The gravell grounde", with sleves tied on the helme", On fomyng horse, with swordes and frendly hartes; With cheare" as though one should another whelme', Where we have fought and chased oft with dartes.—
known and too indelicate to be repeated
here. But in the present instance, Surrey speaks loosely and poetically in making the MAI DEN-tow ER, the true reading, the residence of the women. The maidentower was common in other castles, and means the principal tower, of the greatest strength and defence. MA iden is a corruption of the old French Magne, or Mayne, great. Thus Maidenhead (properly Maydenhithe) in Berkshire, signifies the great port or wharf on the river Thames. So also, Mayden-Bradley in Wiltshire is the great Bradley. The old Roman camp near Dorchester in Dorsetshire, a noble work, is calle Maiden caffe, the capital fortress in those parts. We have Maiden-down in Somertsetshire with the same fignification. A thousand other instances might be given.
Recording ofte what grace" ech one had founde,
The wilde forest, the clothed holtes with grene,
And with this thought the bloud forsakes the face;
Eccho, alas, that doth my sorrow rew', *
In the poet's fituation, nothing can be more natural and striking than the reflection with which he opens his complaint. There is also much beauty in the abruptness of his exordial
* Companion. * Dear to others, to all.
Vol. III. C “ inhabitant